A Story about a Heron… and Angels

Okay, you don’t have to buy this story.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s a true story. I’m going to tell you what happened and what I was thinking at the time and the inevitable conclusion I drew from it. You do not have to draw the same conclusion. You can think I’m gullible. Or that it was all a coincidence. But I was there, and I don’t really have any doubt left.

Years ago – based on my review, it was six years ago – I read Lorna Byrne’s book Angels in my Hair, and my heart was touched. Lorna Byrne tells her life story and how all her life, she’s been able to see angels and talk with them. I went on to read more of her books, and the love and encouragement I read in them always does my heart good.

Now, I’d left one of her books, Prayers from the Heart, in my Amazon Shopping Cart “to buy later.” But a month ago, I’d signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime in order to watch the “Shiny Happy People” documentary series, so I ordered some things from my shopping cart before the free trial expired. The book arrived on July 3rd, and I read Chapter One on the morning of my day off on the 4th.

Then I went for a walk around my lake (actually, a walk to the other side of the lake, into the woods on the other side, and then back — about a mile altogether). It was a hot day, so I took a slow walk, with my camera, taking pictures of the summer flowers by the lake. I was thinking about what I’d read — that angels are all around, and there are angels in nature, angels for each type of animal species and for the trees. I always use my walks around the lake as prayer time, and that day I used what I’d read and prayed that God would send Healing Angels to my loved ones dealing with illnesses. It was a beautiful time.

Often, lately, my walks by the lake had become mechanical, but that day I was feeling God’s presence, along with a nice dose of peaceful joy. I was thinking about what Lorna Byrne said about angels. I do believe that God is with me and God sees me. I do believe that God’s relationship with me is personal. But there’s something about thinking that there are angels all around, a guardian angel by my side and angels in nature, that feels even more personal.

Now, I’ve written before about some great blue heron sightings with amazing timing that I’ve experienced when walking by my lake. As I was walking so happily and prayerfully, I thought, Oh! That’s how God does it! When I have a great blue heron sighting right when I need it! It’s angels!

Let’s be clear that both ways of thinking about it, it’s God’s doing, and God answering prayer. (Lorna Byrne doesn’t suggest that you pray to angels, just helps us acknowledge that they’re there.) But something about thinking that angels are right there nudging the creatures in order to bless me — well I like that idea better than the idea of somehow attracting a “spirit animal guide” (even though I’m happy to learn what I can from what a great blue heron is said to represent). And it feels like drawing back the curtain and seeing how, physically, God has been blessing me. Not that God can’t make a great blue heron do what God wants. But, well, Lorna Byrne says that angels can be playful – and I like imagining them giving a bird a nudge at just the right time.

Now, I hadn’t seen any heron at all on this walk. The lake was pretty quiet, and it was hot. A very quiet day. I was taking lots of pictures of flowers. And then I thought, This would be a good day to pray to see a great blue heron.

And so I did. I prayed that God would send a great blue heron my way “so I’ll know if it’s true.” (And yes, that’s a direct quote from my prayer.)

Remember, I was in a joyful state — enjoying the day, the beauty, praying blessings on my friends, and marveling that maybe there were angels all around. I had seen a few other people — just passed a man and his dog, and I was coming back out of the woods to the side of the lake.

Then I noticed what I thought were some tiny red flowers right down by the water’s edge. I was lingering in this walk, enjoying each moment, and on a whim, I decided to step closer and get a picture of them. Based on the picture, they were actually berries:

I was moving pretty quietly and slowly. I took the picture and was stepping back — when a great blue heron burst into the air — it had been wading behind the tall grass clump right next to the berries. I had my camera up, but still couldn’t get a good shot:

But did get some as it flew and landed on the other side:

And then I took its picture many times as it waded along the edge on the other side. My heart was full of thankfulness.

After all, now I know it’s true.

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